In 2011, what is base and how do you build it?

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by hammonjj, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. hammonjj

    hammonjj New Member

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    It seems to me that with the advent of power meters and a better understanding of the human body that times are changing and what we traditionally refer to as base is also changing. In the early days of training, you would find many riders who would go with the mantra of "ride lots", as time moved on, riders adopted a periodized training system (read: Friel style) and, now, it seems that many riders are moving towards an L4/SST style of training. The most cutting edge seems to be favoring block training over the old school three weeks on, one week off.

    My question (and hopefully an interesting discussion topic), now that we have so much more knowledge of what works/doesn't, how should a rider who trains ~13-18 hours a week (what I consider to be someone with ample time and motivation to race "well") structure their training during the base period? I think we all can agree that as you get closer to your racing season or goal events that you need to have your workouts more closely resemble the kind of racing you will be doing, but what about the season's "ground work", when, traditionally, your mostly looking at just putting in the miles?

    James

    Note: I'm not sure I conveyed this well in my initial post, but this is more of a thought exercise than anything else. I only chose a rider in the 13-18 hour a week range because then we aren't worrying about someone who is overly time constrained (family, social life, etc), but can put in "optimal" training hours.

    Also, because I'm sure this will come up, assume the rider is reasonably well rounded and, like most American bike racers, races the standard diet of crits, road races (60+ miles) and a few stages races throughout the year (3-4 days).
     
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  2. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery Well-Known Member

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    http://biketechreview.com/performance/supply/47-base-a-new-definition

    I've bought into Willett's view of 'base' several years ago. Posted this a few times on this forum in response to questions such as yours. Makes perfect sense to me considering I don't do 4-5hr road races, <1hr crits being my specialty.

    I view 2hr rides at L2/L3 intensity as my pre-base training from which to build upon. I like to think of the 2hr rides as my pre-loading/soil preparation and the 20min L4 intervals as the foundation (construction-speak) to start building on. I'll throw in the occasional 4-5hr ride on the weekend simply because I enjoy riding, not necessarily for the training aspect as these long rides are fairly low intensity - mainly for calorie-burning and sight-seeing purposes...
     
  3. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    For me at least, the old school version of base training, the endless house of getting in the miles, died around 1991/2 following a presentation by Peter Keen on the new training methods some of the best in Britain were currently using. Using 4 levels to describe different levels of intensity he put forward the notion that folks would be better off getting a winter of hard 2 to 4 hours at "level 2" (which is somewhere on the Coggan scale of high L2 through L3) rather than 6 hours on a Sunday twiddling 42x17. Of course, being one of Keens riders, Chris Boardman would have his weekend rides turned into 4 to 5 hours on a mountain bike with knobbly tires trying to keep up with the rest of his team to get his winter base in... and this was for a guy targeting the pursuit. Keen would become the brains behind the new British Cycling and the all conquering track team.

    While many consider Coggans L2 and low-ish L3 to be somewhat junk miles in comparison to "getting in the hard stuff" such as L4 and L5, theres great value to be had in getting in those hard miles. I believe that Andy Coggan holds the belief that there's great value to be had riding that L2 and 3.

    It's no coincidence that great riders such as Hinault talked about getting in 5+ hours "in the big ring, riding fast" and even to the insane training that Roger De Vlaeminck used to do in preperation for the really long classic races of the day that were 300+km long - he'd go out and ride 400km, hard. No wonder he's the best classics racer of all time. They got their L2 and L3 and no doubt a bit of L4 and above in for the distances they covered in races - the same holds true today for us mere mortals who need to race 60+ miles.

    Twiddling easy gears... nice for looking at the trees and smelling the roses and to relax the legs after a hard race or training.
     
  4. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    As I understand training: Pros used to take the winter off and work their way into shape during the early part of the year. Now they tend to ride all year round.

    I am old. I don't race. But it seems that the trend is toward riding like you race all year round.

    Physically pros are not yet able to ride like they race all year round. They cannot eat, digest, and recover enough therefore they cannot keep their weight up.

    ---

    But a guy riding only 13-18 hours a week has enough time to eat, digest their food, and recover. In theory this guy could stay in racing form - consistent with 13-18 hour of training, all year round. But I suppose the programs that promise more gain with less pain are attractive.
     
  5. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery Well-Known Member

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    Deosn't make much sense to compare a pro training regimen with 'weekend warriors' who have limited training time available. The key thing to remember when you have limited time - be it actual riding time, recovery time, and something called 'having a life' time - you must "train smarter, not harder". And the 'smart' bit has gotten exponentially easier and more precise with the advent of affordable power meters...
     
  6. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    James,

    What level of rider are you looking at? Someone who's fairly new to the sport or someone who's been in the sport for a while and has reached a reasonably good level say Cat3?

    Take a look at the powerpoint presentation that Andy Coggan put together regarding training for the individual pursuit. Google search "The individual pursuit: demands and preparation". Slides 29 through 31 - preperation from the start of an off season build period (aka LT Focus) through VO2 max work in the spring. This would work very well for road racing, crits and track work. The last phase in that presentation is event specific - change that as needed for events that apply to you.

    Specifically for this thread, the LT Focus section shows a program used by a rider (Andy's wife no less) to win a national pursuit championship and it fits withing the time contraints given in your initial post.

    I'd highly recommend the latest version of Training and Racing with a Power Meter by Hunter/Coggan and the latest version of Training Peaks WKO+ software. All of your questions are answered in there and in addition there's some very useful methods for finding what really limits your performance as well as the usual how to train to increase performance. For me, the hard part has always been accurately quanitfying what my strengths and weaknesses really are.
     
  7. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    And then swampy1970 does just essentially that.

    My point was that hammonjj and most of the posters here do so little training that they do not need to differentiate between base and other miles. Or to differentiate between different training programs. All they need to do is put in the miles working near event pace.
     
  8. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    But would you expect anything less? ;) It's not like the Pros have a third lung or anything freakish. Their need to go put 20+ hours a week on the bike is a requirement to develop themselves to a level required to sustain their racing schedule. Likewise the weekend warrior needs to make sure that they similarly train to support development that'll allow them to smash out some good rides in 70 mile road races in the hills if they're a Cat3 guy. The training that facilitates that is the same, it's just that we go slower.

    Putting in the miles closer to event pace certainly negates the "need" to spend 5 hours on the bike on a Sunday chit chatting and spinning 42x17 (although for a couple of weeks after the racing season that's a nice relaxing thing to do but for most reasonable racing guys that's squarely in L1) Riding hard for 2 to 3 hours riding in whatever gear it takes to get around upper level L2 and into L3 is much more beneficial too. It's hardly rocket science. If you want to develop the aerobic system you've gotta put a stress on in it. Andy's powerpoint has about 17 hours for the winter build but that's for someone who's looking to win at nationals. While it fits into the OP's timeframe, the workload may well be a bit much and 10 to 12 hours may be more suitable. Ride that 12 hours during the week outdoors in a big gear at 85 to 95rpm and you'll be seeing some nice gains compared to oldschool training methods after a couple of months.

    If you live somewhere that has 4ft of snow 5 months of the year then mix it up. You might be able to get some good rides in outdoors during the middle of the day at the weekend and some 90 minute sessions on the trainer two or three times during the week in the evenings, whether that's one long ride at SST, 3x20 or 2x20 with a set of shorter intervals to mix it up and little will get the job done very nicely. Depending on what your weaknesses are it may pay to deviate a session or two from even something like this.
     
  9. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    It's an interesting topic for discussion, but I'm going to first debate the premise a little in that I don't think our understanding of human performance has increased all that much in the last several decades. Despite all of the new technology, the funding and quality test subjects available to study the physiological details of high-end training response is still pretty limited as I understand it. What *has* increased significantly is the ability to measure what athletes are actually doing on the bike instead of relying on folklore about so-and-so who only trained easy all winter, vs. what's-his-face who rode hard all the time. A by-product of the accessibility of power measurement is that there seem to be more studies into training practices, but they are typically too short or too limited to provide much additional scientific insight. With as much as we supposedly know, there is still as much debate as ever on what method is the most effective (or sometimes even effective at all), and indeed there seem to still be many different approaches to training with none clearly decisive over the others.

    I think where the ability to effectively measure our workload on the bike has changed things the most is in helping part-time athletes cater their training to the demands of their events rather than trying to mimic what they hear about how the pros train. Stemming from that seems to be another type of competition of "doing more with less" or optimizing training to fit into a lifestyle niche rather than purely reaching for the limits of human ability. That's great if it increases the number of amateur athletes who are able to participate, but different priorities really.

    I think I'm agreeing with the Old Guy in saying that *for amateurs at least* when race time comes, it's not so much the fanciest training programs as the people who've been riding the most that generally prevail. When you're riding a lot, it doesn't really matter how you choose to build your base.
     
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  10. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    I don't think that this is a limiting factor. International level swimmers have training schedules that would make pretty much leave everyone here in a world of hurt just reading about it. Two very hard, long sessions per day with lots of food and sleep in between. I asked my massage therapist what her training schedule was like prior to winning 2 gold medals at the Olympics and all I could pretty much say is "if you feel me tensing up, it's not because you're hurting me, it's just a sympathetic response to how hard that training sounds..."

    In a way it's been very interesting and informative to hear how people in other sports do things, especially as we're stuck in a sport like cycling that seemingly relies on myth, lore, legend etc etc as much as proven science or even science that made out to be proven but isn't...

    But don't expect me to be putting in two 4 hours sessions a day and a diet of 6,000+ calories a day for months on end any time soon.
     
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  11. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Information from other sports is interesting. My younger brother's best friend is on the Irish owing squad. We were talking at a recent wedding that we were both at and this kid wanted to listen to
    my alickado storries about racing against Paul Kimmage and Laurence Roche and Martin Earley back in the day.

    But more interestingly he told me about his training and preparation in what is an amateur sport.
    This guy is a student at university but he's putting in between 15-20 hours per week training, on top of his medical degree course.
    The commitment is huge for an amateur sportsman. Right now he's competing most weekends in races/regattas.
    But winter training consists of 2 hour training session three days per week.
    Two 3 hour sessions for 2 days per week.
    One weekend session consisting of 2 x3hour training sessions.

    A training session includes aerobic/anerobic running, gym circuit training, weights and miles and miles of ergo/on water rowing.

    In cycling the De Vlaeminck system of hours and hours on the bike will work. What is down for debate is whether or not the proponent can afford to spend hours out pedalling.
    I'm not in the scientific age as regards training myself.
    I tend to use time as the measurement in the initially part of the season "I will ride X-hours". As my system becomes accustomed to the distance, I think start working on improving my time for coverage that distance "I will ride X-hours but I will cover Y-distance in those hours".
    I record all sessions and use that to measure progress.
     
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  12. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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  13. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Made me sick seeing old video of him and how damned easy he made it look. LOL There was a grace about him on a bike when he was eyeball out and on the rivet that very few riders have been able to compare too.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Aye, he was a classy rider in his heyday from what I've seen of him on youtube. He still looks like he could ride a Monument with no problem whatsoever.
     
  15. RoyalDutchShell

    RoyalDutchShell New Member

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    It might be naive to forget that chemistry and medicine have also come a long way in the decades, in terms of understanding how pros train. :)


    De Vlaeminck looks better than some heroes from the 80's and 90's!

    Edwig Van Hooydonck:
    [​IMG]

    Peter Winnen:
    [​IMG]
     
  16. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    I always thought that the rumour was that Van Hooydonck was a massive natural talent but he was surpassed by those who would sink to the levels of taking the new wonder drug of the time - EPO.

    Winnen. Looks like he swallowed the whole pharmacy for a couple of years straight... Give it a few more years and he might look like an Ewok from the Return of the Jedi...
     
  17. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Bloody hell/img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif Winnen sucking on a ciggie too/img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
     
  18. Reid2

    Reid2 Member

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    ^ ^

    It's a guy-thing. And the Dutch won't wear helmets in city driving.

    They have it all, including smokes if you want 'em. What a great life!




    Look at 1:13? See what armed guys have done to bicyclists?
    It is always guys who do that sort of thing, never women.
    Competition of this nature belongs to males alone at root.
     
  19. RoyalDutchShell

    RoyalDutchShell New Member

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    What a cool video! Thanks for sharing that.In Holland it's just so normal and not pretentious to hop on a bike and get out riding...

    Funny thing about the shot-up sign at 1:13. I was in rural Canada awhile back, and some road signs have black polka-dotted backgrounds now. I'm sure it's to discourage shooting at signs (so you can't see where/if you hit it.). Crazy...

    *meanwhile, back on topic*

    base in 2011 is about raising your FTP. Whether De Vlaemick did it with 8 hour rides or we do it with 2x20s, it's supposed to get at the same thing... right?
     
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